An employee of the Montreal Fire Safety Service (SIM) was suspended after the closure of terraces on Peel Street on Friday evening, in the middle of the Grand Prix weekend. An administrative investigation was also opened by the SIM.

This was confirmed by Luc Rabouin, president of the executive council of the City of Montreal and responsible for economic development, at a press briefing Monday afternoon, after a meeting with the merchants of Peel Street.

“The management [of the SIM] decided to carry out an internal administrative investigation [Monday morning] into what happened. Management has decided to suspend an employee,” he announced.

On Friday evening, SIM employees forced the closure of the terraces on Peel Street, in the middle of the Grand Prix weekend, the busiest time of year. They argued in particular that the distance between the shops and the marquees – which allowed the terraces to remain open despite the rainy weather – was not compliant.

“It’s a shock for [the merchants and for their customers. [The] image of Montreal has been damaged. “, he said.

Despite the suspension of an employee and the opening of an investigation, neither the City nor the SIM is able to determine the circumstances and steps that led to the closure of the terraces.

“I am not in a position to draw any conclusions [beyond]: ‘Something serious happened,'” Rabouin said.

A few hours earlier, Mr. Rabouin met with the restaurateurs on Peel Street and asked them to give the sector 24 hours to carry out the necessary checks for the reinstallation of the marquees. After this delay, the City will have had “all the discussions” to determine what must be arranged – “perhaps differently”, he admits – so that the return of the marquees can be done “in a safe manner”.

“We agree that if there was a suspension, there was a mistake,” responded Julien Hénault-Ratelle, city councilor and opposition spokesperson for economic development. . His party, Ensemble Montréal, is also asking that an analysis of what happened Friday evening “be done publicly” at the city council.